Catching Up With Chef Laura Simpson-Eng
The talented Seattle chef loves cooking with bourbon and fruit
Laura Simpson-Eng is the newly appointed executive chef of the hip Motif Seattle. On top of being a CIA honors graduate, she most recently cut her culinary chops at another Destination Hotels property, L’Auberge Del Mar. Below, she shares what she loves most about being a chef, the new menu items she’s most excited about cooking up this summer, and trends she sees on the horizon.
What do you love most about your job?
I love being part of the seamless background to life’s special events. If I’ve done my job, you should have a wonderful stress-free event that exceeds your expectations. I love knowing that I’ve been a part of weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, proposals, and high-touch corporate events.
Could you describe your cooking philosophy?
Let the ingredients speak first. Excellent food product is the best way to start any type of recipe. We should be picking the best and the freshest ingredients available and preparing them in a way that speaks to the guest – but also showcases the amazing products we have in the Pacific Northwest.
What are some of the menu items you’re most proud of, and why?
Soon, we’ll roll out our summer menu, but on the current menu, I enjoy the roasted romanesco cauliflower with tabbouleh, pomegranate, and hazelnut. I love that this dish is vegan, but also packed with great flavors, textures, and colors. Oftentimes vegan food can be one note, but I feel like this dish has it all.
What are your favorite ingredients to cook with?
Bourbon, citrus, and tomatoes – but not necessarily together!
What culinary trends do you see, based on what your customers are requesting?
We are definitely seeing a trend of Middle Eastern spices. For example, we have our Berbere-crusted hen of the woods with muhamarra.
Seattle’s a fun town. How do you spend your downtime?
I enjoy dining out!